NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Saturday suggested to the Centre to remove the GST on face masks, sanitisers, oximeters and thermometers, saying these items have become a part of regular expenditure of the people during COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was speaking during a meeting of the GST Council. He said the central government and BJP-ruled states opposed the idea of making these items tax-free and stressed that the decision to not do away with the tax was against the interest of citizens.
"The GST Council did not listen to any of us and did not accept the suggestions to exempt COVID medical equipment from the Goods and Services Tax. I appeal to the central government to open their heart, to think about the suffering of the people and make this equipment tax-free."
"Masks, sanitisers, oximeters and thermometers have become a part of the daily expenditure. The central government should make them tax-free instead of making money out of them," Sisodia said.
During the meeting, Sisodia said, he recommended some changes for making the equipment tax-free.
"People want the government to provide relief to them," he said. Referring to the coronavirus situation in the UK, the deputy chief minister said that "as cases peak in the UK, we can say that India will also see another peak".
The central and state governments have already starting amping up medical facilities in the anticipation of a third COVID wave, he said, adding that the private sector has also been asked to invest in public healthcare.
"If a state government asks a private company to invest Rs 10 lakh in a hospital to increase its ICU capacity, does it mean that the hospital will get the full amount or that the hospital will receive a deducted amount after tax," he asked.
Sisodia claimed that people across the nation were suffering from coronavirus and the central government was making it worse by not removing the GST on medical equipment.